The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-16-16

Posted on January 21st, 2016 at 11:19 am by



A hard core of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends showed up this week to once again take to the streets for the only regular protest in Ann Arbor, certainly the only one which holds the Jewish community accountable for their support of Apartheid Israel. Loyal readers have heard this before.

What perhaps you haven’t heard is – and channeling the words of baseball player/manager Charlie Brown on a rainy day: “Where IS everybody?” With apologies to Michael Rabb and Rich Siegel, who have executed their own public protests at Zionist synagogues, we wonder where are have all the activists gone?

There are at least two possible explanations for the failure of others to follow our example. The first one is that our small group is completely wrong-headed about the issue. The second is that Jewish Power has so dominated the movement in support of a Jewish state – both inside and outside the peace movement – that activists who entertain the possibility that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state – are cowed into silence by that very power.

A Jewish jeweler, well known in the Ann Arbor art scene, stops by the vigils and tells me that “This is completely wrong”. Why is it wrong? “It prevents meaningful dialogue and turns the hearts of those who might actually agree with you.” In an exchange that well could have happened twelve years ago, we reply that the time for meaningful dialogue has passed, and refer to the 1955 “dialogue” that was similarly beyond its time between Rosa Parks and the Montgomery bus driver.

We might win the battle of a successful counter-argument, but she wields the Jewish Power cudgel and walks away satisfied that our group hasn’t grown in well over a decade of protest, and provides small challenge to her well-established Jewish state.

Where IS everybody?

Should JWPF fold our tent and join ranks with openly Zionist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace? Stop calling out Jewish Power, the illegitimacy of a Jewish state founded as it was on brute violence, Jewish supremacism both in the US as well as in Palestine? Focus our efforts on “the Occupation?”

Where IS everybody?

Should we recant our principled stance and join the ranks of Palestinians in this country whose concern rarely extends beyond family and entertainment? Oh yes, expect these folks to come out in scores whenever the Jewish state has an outburst and kills and maims thousands of Gazans, but hey, they haven’t migrated to the cozy US, and junior needs to be driven to soccer practice, so we really just don’t have the time for continued, sustained protest.

Where IS everybody?

We’re told that “Peace is the Church’s Business”, and though appreciative of the national Presbyterians and UCC in their efforts to support the BDS movement, we note that both statements from these groups came with the blessings, if not direction, of Jewish Voice for Peace. JVP clearly supports Israel’s claimed right to exist as a Jewish state and also wields the cudgel of Jewish Power to ensure that Christians in the Palestine solidarity (not liberation) movement toe the line at the 1967 military occupation of the 28% of Palestine not stolen in 1948.

Where IS everybody?

Saving the worst for last we have the Jewish “progressive” who sometimes likens Zionists to fascists, but is the first to circle the wagons to protect the Tribe when groups like JWPF single out the Judaic element of Zionism. Fortunately, there are a few – like Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon – who recognize these Jewish “anti-Zionist” Zionists for what they are.

Four dedicated vigilers last Saturday. At 69 years of age I’m the youngest of the group. Standing (some sitting) in a breezy, snow-flaked Saturday morning, up against a very powerful bunch of well-heeled Zionist Jews. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of these guys … but

where IS everybody?


Israel: No Right to Exist
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 01-02-16

Posted on January 5th, 2016 at 5:05 pm by

Young Men’s Judeo-Christian Association?

Floating across our desk this week from our local YMCA came “We Belong – A newsletter for members & volunteers of the Ann Arbor YMCA” (January 2016). The Mission statement was printed on page one:

To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

“We Belong” also reports that the Cleveland, Ohio Director of Marketing and Development is moving to Ann Arbor to become our new President and CEO.
A quick check on the Mission Statement from the 2014 Annual Report of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland finds:

To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.


Another check places the origin of the YMCA in London, England., the website of the US affiliate, reports that in 1844, founder George Williams, a young farmer-turned-department store worker, was troubled by what he saw for the young men who migrated to the city from rural areas to find jobs. “… London offered a bleak landscape of tenement housing and dangerous influences… [Williams] joined 11 friends to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets.”

Well, George, welcome to the 21st century and a dominating Jewish influence in the social sphere: the “C” in “YMCA” has all but been removed from the American branch of the organization you founded and now puts “Judeo-Christian” principles ahead of your outdated and silly “Christian” ones. Just as influential Jews in the Ann Arbor community saw to it that the “First Unitarian-Universalist Church of Ann Arbor” became the “First Unitarian-Universalist [u/l] Congregation of Ann Arbor”, it appears to the careful observer that there are forces about set on removing “Christ” from Christmas and “Christian” from the YMJA…

An Unexpected Teaching Moment

Feeling pretty clever about our most recent bumper sticker – “Liberate Palestine, End ‘Israel’”, we were somewhat surprised to find a note critical of that sticker pinned to our windshield from a Harley Davidson motorcycle rider in Deerfield, Ohio. The note read “Liberate America, End Liberals.”

OK, insult aside, what was this person communicating? Probably that he didn’t give a rip about Palestine, Palestinians, or anyone from the Middle East, as those folk weren’t part of his everyday experience. Weren’t Muslim Arabs responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington fourteen years ago? Check out this license plate from an auto salesman’s desk in nearby Brunswick, Ohio:

Va Plate

Whether or not this biker believed the government report on the attacks of 9/11, he was saying “How about caring about America? Forget the foreigners! They mean nothing to me.”

This teaching moment allowed us to see the impact of Dan McGowan’s “America First, NOT Israel” bumper sticker and successful billboard which bore the same slogan. We believe Americans – JWPF’s target audience – will act when they feel their own interests are at stake. Why are US taxpayers forking over 10 million dollars a day to a country which kills Americans, spies on us and has its own partisans in the highest levels of the US government? Perhaps our biker friend might sport a bumper sticker of his own one day:

America First JPG


Six vigilers
Israeli citizens in OUR Congress?
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-19-15

Posted on December 21st, 2015 at 3:07 pm by

Is Jewish leadership getting nervous? It should be.

This writer attended a press conference this week at a Dearborn Heights (Michigan) mosque, which was to show solidarity with the Muslim community against Islamophobia in the face of alleged racist comments by presidential candidates, notably Donald Trump’s.

Islamic Press Conference

Had the religious leaders in attendance listened to what their colleagues were actually saying, they might have realized that the racism they were proudly denouncing was exactly the same racism exhibited by the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians. Of all the racisms denounced – and there was JWPF’s open critic Dawud Walid (Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations) dredging up “anti-semitism” for his handlers to witness – Zionism didn’t get mentioned.

Hello, Muslim and Christian friends: Zionism is a form of racism that has led to decades of suffering and righteous resentment among Muslims.

Consider some of the comments made at that conference:

“America needs to do more to take care of the Syrian refugees.” … What about the plight of Palestinian refugees exiled from their homes by force for the last 67 years and denied [u/l]to this day to return to them by Israel and its supporters? Why don’t the pastors and imams include that group of refugees in their calls for justice?

“America is proud of its inclusion and diversity; indeed, it’s part of our American values.” … No mention that Israel is a Jewish state, where exclusivity reigns. Israel by self-definition excludes from equal standing the very members of the religions – Christianity and Islam – represented at this press conference. How could the pastors and imams present have looked at this obvious violation of human rights, then looked the other way?

One pastor said “Being human takes all of us together” and we agree. But certainly Israeli Jews (and many American Jews) don’t believe that. Otherwise, Israel would be a state that welcomes, rather than denies – and is violently hostile to – the six million Palestinians under its control.

“Trump violates American separation of church and state when he singles out a religion for persecution.” … Israel, on the other hand, is as un-American as a state can be. It conjoins church and state, rather than separates the two. This conflation is one of the core reasons JWPF was formed: We have long challenged Beth Israel as “a political institution as well as a house of worship”.

And another pastor said “All people are equal in the sight of God.” Was Rabbi Daniel Schwartz – present in this group of respected clergy – getting a bit nervous at the pastor’s words? Did he think for a moment of the story of a little boy and a naked emperor? How would he countenance the word “equal” with the dissonance of “chosen”?

And who remembers the made-for-the-average-American video “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” given away to voters prior to the 2008 Presidential election? That video epitomizes the term Islamophobia and was produced by Aish Hatorah, the “leading Jewish content website” for the last fifteen years.

Jewish organizations like Aish Hatorah and powerful Jewish leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu have no trouble identifying a “radical Islam”, but do Christian and Muslim leaders utter the phrase “radical Judaism” when describing the violent and continuing Jewish Zionist takeover of Arab lands? Not a peep. What could have served as a timely wake-up call to Christians and Muslims, these leaders of their respective communities let their worshippers down. Fighting for racial equality while turning a blind eye in the presence of overt Jewish racism serves no group and is certainly not a way to promote justice.


Six vigilers
America First, NOT Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 12-12-15

Posted on December 14th, 2015 at 11:08 am by

In the face of Jewish Power, Lamar caves

Last month we reported on the one-sided news coverage provided by television station WXYZ about the billboard, “America First, NOT Israel” erected by Lamar Advertising Company and paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered. Readers will remember that Heidi Budaj of the Anti-Defamation League was allowed to make bogus charges of anti-semitism without fear of televised rebuttal.

Then, in our report of November 21 we saw some telltale signs of the effects of Jewish Power when Lamar nixed the idea of running the same billboard in New Jersey. Did Lamar receive “The memo”? One way to tell was to attempt a second run – another four-week rental – of the billboard back in Detroit. Here’s the response from the honchos at Lamar:

This is in response to your request to run the “America First, Not Israel” message in our Detroit office that was paid for by Dier [sic] Yassin Remembered. We are rejecting both the message and the group sponsoring the message as the copy and the sponsor do not fall within our copy acceptance policy. The copy, “America First, Not Israel” is factually inaccurate and misleading. While it is within our policy that Lamar Advertising will not accept or reject advertising copy based upon agreement or disagreement with the views presented, it was easy to conclude that after closer examination of Dier Yassin Remembered, it is a deeply Anti-Semitic group that even questions the very existence of the Jewish Holocaust during World War 2. In addition to being Anti Semitic, we believe that it is factually inaccurate and not within reasonable standards of fairness and decency to accept this message from this group or any similar group whose directors or members share this view. Lamar will reject this message and group in other Lamar offices, not just Detroit. It is always Lamar’s desire to work with all advertisers to develop acceptable or even alternative messages that represents legitimate political discourse, provided that the message and group paying for the space fall within our copy acceptance policy once it is submitted for approval. This decision involved the local General Manager, the Regional Manager and the Vice President of Governmental Relations in our corporate office and this rendered decision is final.

Who calls the shots on advertising about the Jewish state at Lamar? “We do” yells the Jewish establishment. “And don’t you forget it.”

In the face of Jewish Power, JWPF remains resolute

Compare Lamar’s capitulation to that of our group, Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends last week. Professor Victor Lieberman of the University of Michigan and Beth Israel congregant, makes a habit of verbally assaulting members of our peaceful protest and this writer attempts to video Victor’s sidewalk lectures in order to record any misdeeds he may try. As he approached our group, I walked across the street to get a little closer, camera running.

Victor threatens to call the cops, claiming I was “stalking” him, and in fact does so. The response to an upset Jew calling the AAPD was typical: send out THREE patrol cars to investigate the matter. When Officer Rebecca Singer asks what’s happening here, I play back the tape for her. She asks for a copy of the tape for her records and I provide her with a cd of it the next day. No arrests or even admonitions towards JWPF were even considered by Officer Singer. Lieberman walks to Beth Israel, and we are left to finish our protest as usual. We think the AAPD might be getting a little tired of Beth Israel congregants crying wolf as they have over the years and look forward to sharing Singer’s report with our followers. It’s also worth remembering that only Beth Israel attendees have ever actually been engaged in criminal behavior. View Lieberman video here.

Good Quote

Vigiler C gets turned down from a comment he tried to make to some on-line publication. Vigiler R responds sympathetically:

Given the relentless, long term, and highly successful propaganda mantle that shrouds reality, while introducing exclusionary self-serving semantic content to linguistic hooks such as hate-speech and anti-Semite as it unfolds, I am not surprised that you got censored.


Dec. 5: Five vigilers
Dec. 12: Nine vigilers
America First, NOT Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-21-15

Posted on November 29th, 2015 at 3:18 pm by

Whither Academia?

Four members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends attended an academic discussion of “The Israeli Palestinian Conflict” at the Ford School for Public Policy on the University of Michigan campus. For ninety minutes Professors Shai Feldman and Khalil Shakaki lectured an audience of 50 people and answered note-card-filtered questions without once mentioning the J-word, as if Israel was not a Jewish state committing crimes against the Palestinian people with Jewish soldiers using weapons adorned with Jewish religious symbols and with worldwide support of the Jewish community.

These two professors, both affiliated with Brandeis University, create the illusion of discussion as they talked past the 800-pound gorilla sitting right in the middle of the plush Annenberg Auditorium. Listen to Shai Feldman, who claims to be a “fifth generation Israeli”, talk about the “Golden age” of Israeli-Palestinian history which ended upon the assassination of PM Rabin. Hear him talk about his claim that there is “no architect” with which to continue the “peace process”, and remember the claims fifteen years ago that Yasser Arafat provided “no partner” for peace negotiations. The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

Also pay attention the quisling role played by Dr. Shakaki, whose presence gives a false credence to this dialogue. Both professors “team teach” the “conflict”, and neither call the issue by its right name: the Jewish ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Thank you, Dr. Shakaki, for playing your role to perfection, for bringing up non-issues like the “mind-set” of Mahmoud Abbas, and the “status quo” being shaken by the current stabbings in Palestine.

Feldman claimed that since Jerusalem was “a Jewish city”, only the local Jewish police – and not IDF troops – patrolled the town. Shakaki remained silent, while the four JWPF members cast quizzical gazes at each other. Had we missed the UN memo declaring Jerusalem all-Jewish? Both professors patted themselves on the back when Feldman claimed the two were “entrepreneurs for peace”. Really.

How far has academia fallen? Have suits and neckties substituted for critical analysis? Are students to be led by the Snake and the Sycophant, aka Feldman and Shakaki, away from understanding a simple situation and toward a false construct? JWPF members expect better from our intellectuals. So should you.

America First? Not in New Jersey!

Deir Yassin Remembered is an organization with a board of advisors comprising seventeen individuals from Ramallah to Melbourne. Our New Jersey rep contacted the local Lamar Advertising Company and requested the billboard used in Detroit be installed on a billboard near his hometown of Teaneck. DYR Executive Director Dan McGowan summarizes the result of this attempt in an article published on =Dissident Voice=.

Deir Yassin Remembered, a not-for-profit organization of Jews and non-Jews working for the human rights of Palestinians, rented a billboard in Detroit. The message was simple: “America first, not Israel.”

DYR's new billboard in metro Detroit.

DYR’s new billboard in metro Detroit.

The mega billboard company, Lamar, designed the message and produced the 14’ x 48’ vinyl for $700. It charged an additional $3,000 to display it for four weeks and agreed to ship the vinyl to the next location at the end of the rental period.

But when Deir Yassin Remembered tried to rent a billboard in Bergen County (NJ), Lamar refused saying “due to its sensitive nature, we do not want to post in here in New York or New Jersey.”

In a country whose Congress gives 28 standing ovations to the Prime Minister of Israel, an apartheid state to whom we give the lion’s share of our foreign aid, free speech is often not allowed, even when you are willing to pay for it.


Nov. 14: Seven vigilers
Nov. 21: Five vigilers
America First, NOT Israel
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Report on Beth Israel vigil 11-07-15

Posted on November 8th, 2015 at 6:50 pm by

Local TV station initiates coverage of DYR billboard, then clams up

Billboard Oct 2015 1 of 2-sm

A story within a story … reporter Camille Amiri of local television station WXYZ-TV “breaks” the news of our billboard in the Detroit area and interviews only ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Detroit Regional Director Heidi Budaj, and claims that she tried to “reach out to the organization who had this billboard put up”. Neither this writer, nor Dan McGowan, Executive Director of Deir Yassin Remembered, was ever personally contacted, nor contact made via the DYR website. Amiri also assures her readers “Of course we will let you know when and if they (DYR) do call me back and get a more definitive answer on what exactly this billboard means.”

This writer phoned the TV station within one hour of Amiri’s broadcast on Thursday, October 22, and repeatedly tried via email to contact her over the next few days to provide the answers to her question, but to no avail. She responded only once and that was to say she had forwarded my contact information to the news room.

Why the Wieselian silence? Why the false statements? And why the immediate dropping of the story? For help on this let’s allow the Detroit Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency to provide insight. The female reporter from the DJN called this writer but was apparently shocked into printable silence by my claim that America and Israel were ideologically opposites: (1) America represents separation of state and religion, whereas Israel is wedded to the Jewish faith; (2) America does not discriminate based on ethnic origin or religious affiliation in granting the right to vote, while Israel denies millions of Palestinians that same right; and (3) Americans enjoy freedom of political expression, where Israel does not.

She questioned the third claim, but again had no response to the fact that it is illegal in Israel to question the standard narrative of the “Holocaust”.

Julie Weiner of the JTA did not even bother going through any potentially damaging phone call interviews, and merely ascertained from Mr. McGowan that more billboards are planned, pending funding. In spite of receiving my contact information, Weiner elected not to proceed.

We are left to speculate re: the silence from the Jewish community on this topic. We feel it’s clear that they would like this embarrassing billboard removed from the sight of the viewing public, and possibly informed WXYZ to drop it. Perhaps Tony Soprano carried the message personally to Camille Amiri. We really just don’t know.

Billboard story gets play internationally

Flip to the good side: many news organizations picked up on our billboard, including the American Free Press, the Arab American News, the Jerusalem Post and Russia Today. Dave Gahary of the AFP spent over an hour on the phone with this writer, and we anticipate a story coming out soon.

The billboard strikes a nerve – just as our weekly vigils do – in the heart of the Jewish community. They know that the claim of dual loyalty is a valid one, despite the kneejerk reaction from Heidi Budaj. Michael Hager wants to know the number of congressmen and senators currently holding dual citizenship with Israel, and so do we. To which country are these political leaders pledging allegiance? Why is it that Benjamin Netanyahu receives more standing ovations addressing OUR congress than any US president in recent memory? Why does Barack Obama say there is “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel despite the three major differences listed above?

Isn’t it clear that our leaders in Congress and the White House are hand-picked or coerced to pay homage to the “special relationship” by the enormous financial and political pressure exerted by the Jewish Lobby? Deir Yassin Remembered and Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends see the daylight, and we’re not the only ones. That’s why the billboard has enjoyed so much success. The next one is coming. Stay tuned.


Oct. 24 Nine vigilers
Oct. 31 Seven vigilers
Nov. 7 Four vigilers
Israeli Citizens in OUR Congress?
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

Billboard Contact and Donation Information

Posted on October 26th, 2015 at 4:56 pm by

Please direct all media inquiries about DYR’s new billboard in metro Detroit (pictured below) to Dan McGowan at 315-781-3418 or Henry Herskovitz at 734-663-3649.

Billboard donations to offset its cost or to keep it in place longer are welcome. If you opt to use JustGive for your donation please select “Billboard” under Program.

DYR's new billboard in metro Detroit.
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